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Saturday, 14 June 2008

Rachel and Luke

Rachel from North London, who experienced at first hand the effects of a Jihadist bombing on 7/7, responds more kindly than I think I would to the suggestion from Hackney Labour councillor Luke Akehurst that his party should find 'a survivor or relative of a victim of a terrorist attack' to stand against David Davis. Rachel's response is worth quoting in full:
Luke, my balanced, non-emotional, rational, non political position was formed after spending 3 years talking to people on the front line of terrorism.

This includes 3 Home Secretaries, numerous police officers, ex senior police officers, security service and ex security service officers, journalists, ex jihadis, prisoners, distinguished commentators and thinkers, families, survivors, soldiers and terrorism experts from Europe and the US and UK and lawyers, religious leaders, ordinary Muslims, academics, ex diplomats, politicians of all 3 main parties including Mr Davis and Mr Clegg, and the Home Affairs Committee.

I listened and learned from them all. Not all of them agree with the position I eventually took. Many, many do. I came into this with an open mind, as an ordinary person. I put aside my fear and my anger about terrorists and what they do, and of course I understand why people are afraid of terrorists. But I choose to try live in a way that demonstrates I prize freedom over fear. I will not live in a way that is terrorised and terrified; I will not do the terrorist's job for him.

Your stance appears to be driven by knee jerk tribal party politics, or perhaps by fear of terrorists. I think cherishing life and liberty is more important than politics and fearfulness.

My position is practical, not idealistic.

I explained in my two articles, in the Sunday Times and the Guardian for example, that M16 have for the last decade battled international weapons and drugs cartels with witnesses in different continents, speaking different languages, evidence cached on hundreds of computers, their own legal and security muscle and frequently the assistance of corrupt officials. yet they not have and have not asked for 42 days.

The DPP does not think it is needed, not the ex Attorney General, nor many others whose job it is to protect us and prosecute those who mean us harm.

Our best intelligence comes from co-operative communities and a public who trust the police and judiciary to do their job.

But you know this.

I would respect your decision more if you could explain why I, after all this time and energy bothering to work through all this, am still 'wrong' to cherish liberties and freedoms that protect us, that we have valued for 1000 years, and why a mess of a law whipped through for political purposes which there is no present need for, is 'right' - yet not so right that Labour can find one man or woman to stand for it and put it to the people to vote on.

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